IGO reported no material safety incidents across their managed activities during the first quarter of 2022, lowering their 12-month total reportable injury frequency (TRIF) per million hours worked from 14.1 to 11.2.
Additionally, the company has placed a large focus on the management and control of COVID-19 cases, with no known workplace transmission of the virus being reported.
IGO’s prevention measures have included rapid antigen screening and implementation of close contact monitoring technology, while the company has continued to encourage good hygiene and social distancing practices.
While IGO’s staffing levels have been affected this has not materially disrupted the business in any way.
IGO managing director and chief executive officer Peter Bradford commented on the continued growth of the company, while it maintains a high level of personal safety.
“All of us at IGO are proud to have played a part in delivering another great result. Consistent and safe operational performance, combined with stronger metal prices, has resulted in another highly profitable quarter,” he said.
“Importantly, despite the widespread challenges of COVID-19, we have achieved this safely, efficiently and without material disruption.”
IGO capitalised on rising lithium prices in the first quarter, with spodumene concentrate from the Greenbushes joint venture project in Western Australia sold for an average of $US1770 ($2502) per tonne FOB (free on board) for the three months to March 31.
This increased from a $US592 ($837) per tonne average sales price across the first half of the 2022 financial year.
IGO’s wholly owned Nova operation in WA also performed strongly, producing 6290 tonnes of nickel in the first quarter of 2022, amounting to 20,166 tonnes of nickel produced across the first three quarters of the 2022 financial year (guidance: 18,750-20,250 tonnes).
“The strength in the nickel price has generated strong free cash flow from Nova, which continues to underpin our clean energy metals business.” Bradford said.
“We also made good progress across our lithium business. At Greenbushes, construction of the tailings retreatment project was successfully completed, with commissioning progressing well.
“The next stage of expansion at Greenbushes, construction of CGP3 (chemical grade plant three), is being progressed.”
IGO experienced a 154 per cent increase in profit after tax across the March quarter, jumping from $52.3 million to $133 million for the most recent quarter.